Cramping during pregnancy is often a sign that you are starting to have Braxton Hicks or “warm-up” contractions. If this happens at irregular intervals during your third trimester there is nothing to worry about. This is the normal way that your body prepares for labor.
Warm-up contractions are one way your body lets your baby know the time to be born is drawing close. There are a couple benefits to these contractions. First, the actual squeezing prepares your baby for real contractions. Second these contractions are like mini workouts and serve to tone your uterus so that it is ready for labor. During delivery, your uterus will be working hard for hours; first to open your cervix and then to expel your baby. You want your uterus to be up to the job!
Read more about Frequent Braxton Hicks Contractions.
If you experience cramping earlier in your pregnancy or if the cramping becomes regular – say every ten minutes for an hour - then it may be a sign that you are experiencing pre-term labor.
Depending on how far along you are, this may or may not be an issue.
If you are not yet full-term and you have regular cramping for more than an hour you should contact your obstetrician or midwife to let them know what is going on.
It is best that you have a full-term pregnancy of 40 to 41-1/7 weeks. Your baby will be less likely to have health issues if he or she has the chance to mature fully in your womb. Pre-term labor is often caused when baby isn’t getting what it needs in your womb. This happens often with working women who are under a lot of stress and not getting enough sleep. Dehydration can also cause pre-term labor.
Please take care of yourself while you are pregnant. Get plenty of sleep, drink plenty of water and follow a healthy pregnancy diet. While cramping during pregnancy can be entirely normal, it also can be a sign that you are doing too much.